Last month I visited my father in Japan for a short 1 week visit and we took a trip to Lake Yamanaka in Yamanashi prefecture (about 2 hours from Tokyo). It's a place we used to come often when I was a child during the summer time for it's cool climate (compared to the brutal Tokyo summer) and a beautiful view of Mount Fuji.
1 place I've never been to and wanted to also check out during this visit was Ishiwari Jinja, translated to 'Cracked Rock (boulder) Shrine' and I was just blown away by a picture I found on the internet of this place, also known as a spiritual 'power spot'. Any time I visit new places, I typically try not to read anything about it and like to read about it after the visit like I did with this shrine.
About a 15 minute drive from Lake Yamanaka, we came to the entrance of the shrine. My father had difficulty walking up steps so he decided to stick around a nearby coffee shop while I went up for a quick sketch before we had lunch. I had my sketching bag, wore sandals and told my dad I'll be back quickly.
I didn't know any better at this time.
|Entrance at the base|
|2 Statues at entrance|
|Straight steps leading up. Cannot see the very top.|
I think this photo of the sign must have been around mid point. It's saying to be careful of the stair steps. On the top left is a hand scribble note reading "This is the 243rd step". I wish it also told me how many more steps were remaining until reaching the shrine.
|Warning sign to be careful of steps|
At this point about 45 minutes up the stairs, I'm completely wipe out and out of breath. The T-shirt I was wearing is completely drenched in sweat and I haven't met a single person going up or coming down the steps. I have no choice but to keep on going up.
Then eventually I spot a rock with some religious rope wrapped around it.
Then a sign.
|Old hand written sign talking about the history of this location|
|I finally see something!!|
I finally made it to the rock! It's hard to describe in words but I'm completely blown away with this scene since I just walked up 403 stair steps for an hour, not meeting a single person and something like this all of a sudden appears.
Like with any subject, I like to sketch before thinking about it and that's what I did here while I'm trying to cool down. I'm also starting to get text messages from my father who wants to go eat lunch and didn't think it would take this long for me to come back. I didn't think it would take this long to come here too.
I'm sketching super fast.
After the line sketch is done, I'm starting to feel good and relaxed and my left side of the brain starts working again. I go check out what's written on the sign and it tells me that there's a passage way going through the split rock and going around the path 3 times (clockwise) will bring good luck. I immediately give it a try.
Here's the 'rock'!
Stair steps from the left leading up to the rock.
A very tight corridor and the walls of the rock was wet too and I barely fit through.
Upon quickly returning to 'base' and having 'Hoto Udon' with my father, I'm telling him all the stories about this shrine. I also remembered my iPhone kept track of my steps so I look at it and just cracked up. I was blown away by the amount of steps I had taken!!
What a fun memorable trip!